People-Driven: Adapting Cities for Tomorrow

Reference: LIFE20 CCA/BE/001710 | Acronym: LIFE PACT



After several dry summers, more flooding and subsequent heat waves, the city decided to increase climate resilience. They organised Leuven 2030 and adopted a Rainwater Strategy in 2019 and a Drought Strategy in 2020. The city is currently in the process of designing a Greenery Strategy, aimed at expanding and preserving the city’s green spaces. The three strategies are converted to action plans, including communication and awareness raising. For its efforts on sustainability and climate change, Leuven in 2018 was rewarded with the European Commission's Green Leaf Award. In 2020 Leuven received the European Capital of Innovation Award.


The overarching objective of the LIFE PACT project is to develop and test an integrated approach to urban climate change adaptation (CCA) that draws on the efforts of multiple stakeholders, including local government, citizens, universities and private actors, to more effectively implement Nature Based Solutions (NBS).

Specifically, the project team will:

  • Deploy NBS across several pilot and replication sites;
  • Develop and test a replicable method for engaging citizens in the deployment of NBS;
  • Develop and test a replicable method for engaging local stakeholders in the deployment of NBS;
  • Improve the knowledge base for NBS deployment by developing a digital tool to facilitate, track, and analyse the uptake of NBS in citizens’ private outdoor spaces.

LIFE PACT will implement NBS at two pilot sites in the city of Leuven. Following the pilot stage, the project team will replicate targeted actions in Leuven, Madrid, and Kraków. In pursuing these objectives, LIFE PACT aims to bring to life the European Climate Pact, which calls on stakeholders from across all sectors of society to take action to achieve a climate-neutral and resilient future. It aims to do so in an integrated way, by activating multiple levers at once (citizen engagement, stakeholder engagement, and the use of data and digital technologies) and by targeting both public and private spaces, in particular the spaces owned by citizens, which are typically absent from efforts to deploy NBS.

The project contributes to implementing EU goals relating to the priority area of Climate Governance and Information, particularly policy on Climate Change Adaptation by developing and testing replicable methods for engaging citizens and stakeholders in the deployment of NBS.


Expected results:

  • A replicable method for engaging citizens in the deployment of NBS;
  • Many citizens made aware of the (co-)benefits of NBS;
  • Many citizens changing behaviour and deploying NBS on their private property;
  • Change in citizens’ perception, creating buy-in for the implementation of NBS in public spaces, increased mental health of those impacted by PACT’s NBS actions;
  • A replicable method for engaging stakeholders in the deployment of NBS;
  • The active involvement of a wide range of stakeholders in local stakeholder networks for CCA;
  • Many stakeholders changing behaviour, implementing NBS on privately owned land;
  • A digital tool aimed at facilitating the uptake of NBS by citizens, including a gamification component;
  • Linking citizens online to local businesses in the greening industry, boosting the local economy, resulting in job creation;
  • A report on participation, evolution of the support base, perception of NBS, impact on mental health, and the number and types of NBS implemented in participants’ gardens;
  • The deployment of NBS at LIFE PACT’s sites will also have an important impact across a range of environmental indicators: CO2 sequestration, improved air quality, improved resilience to flooding, reduced Urban Heat-Island effect, reduced water consumption, improved soil surface, reduction in number of alien species, and an increased number of species.


Reference: LIFE20 CCA/BE/001710
Acronym: LIFE PACT
Start Date: 01/09/2021
End Date: 31/08/2025
Total Budget: 3,944,564 €
EU Contribution: 2,128,172 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: Stad Leuven
Legal Status: PAT
Address: Professor Van Overstraetenplein 1, 3000, Leuven, België - Belgique
Contact Person: Katleen Remeysen
Tel: 32476757690

LIFE Project Map



  • Natural resources and ecosystems
  • Climate change


  • monitoring
  • climate change adaptation
  • nature-based solutions


Name Type
Stad Leuven Coordinator
Demsoc(The Democratic Society AISBL), Belgium Participant
KU Leuven(Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Belgium Participant
ZL(Zorg Leuven), Belgium Participant
L2030(Leuven Klimaatneutraal 2030 vzw), Belgium Participant
DML(Dark Matter Laboratories B.V.), Netherlands Participant
Kraków(Gmina Miejska Kraków), Poland Participant
UPM(Universidad Politécnica de Madrid), Spain Participant
Madrid(Ayuntamiento de Madrid (Madrid City Council)), Spain Participant